What is “the best interest of a child?”
By: Alicia Fastman, Esquire
In the context of custody cases, the best interest of a child in a custody matter is determined by the Court’s weighing of the 16 factors enumerated by Pennsylvania’s custody statute. These factors, found under 23 Pa. C.S. §5328, are considered by a judge in his or her decision regarding custody schedule, legal custody, and any other custody-related issue before the Court.
The factors require the judge to consider which parent is best able to provide for the child in a manner that will promote his or her best interest, and include subjects such as providing and maintaining a loving and stable environment for the child, encouraging contact between the child and the other parent, and the level of conflict between the parties.
While the judge is required to consider all 16 factors, one of which is “any other relevant factor,” the statute does not dictate how much weight is to be given to each factor, and the judge has discretion in that regard. Each parent will have their strengths and weaknesses in the context of the factors, and the judge must consider each factor and determine what is in the best interest of the child based on a full review of all 16 elements.
It is important to have an attorney representing you who understands the Court’s perspective on the factors involved to ensure that your individual situation is presented in the best possible light in the context of the factors set forth by the custody statute.
To schedule an appointment with one of our attorney’s, or for further information, call us at LaMonaca Law, at (610) 892-3877